UM student launches ‘Red Patch Outdoors’ to bring versatility to outdoor sports | ABC Fox Missoula
MISSOULA, Mont. – With a passion for the outdoors and a military background under his belt, a University of Montana student starts an outdoor gear manufacturing business, while raising two children and earning his master’s degree in accounting.
Charles Luther does craft projects in his garage for his business, Red Patch Outdoors, which was only started through a mission.
“I wanted this modular, multifunctional outdoor gear that I could use for hunting, fishing, and hiking with the kids and so on,” Luther said. “I was like, ‘if I can do this and then turn it into a business for this class, that’ll be great.'”
Luther served four years in the U.S. Marines as Landing Support Specialist 0481, also known as Red Patcher. This is where Red Patch Outdoors gets its name and inspiration for the gear.
“The body armor that we all wear has this molly system, this strap system that allows you to attach pouches where you need them. You can configure things however you need them for your specific mission. .and that’s what I wanted to bring into the civilian sector and into the outdoor world,” Luther said.
So when he was tasked with coming up with a business idea for the class, he knew what he wanted to do.
“This modular, mobile, swappable idea really resonated with people and I was like, ‘Okay, this is something people really want. It wasn’t just me who was looking for that,'” he said.
Whether you’re hunting, fly-fishing or hiking with the family, Luther said the “Montana way” doesn’t have to be hard.
“What we want to bring to the Montanans is not necessarily more opportunities to get out, but more ease when they get out. If you see gear and equipment as a barrier to entry, we want remove this barrier as much as possible,” he added.
Luther and company co-founder Ethan Pateman placed 2nd in the John Ruffatto Business Challenge at UM last year, winning more than $7,000.
He will graduate in May and plans to get a job in accounting, but said he is not giving up on his restless side.
He wants to expand his business, so he is looking for a partner from Montana to help him with the cutting and sewing operations.